Light­houses could boost mo­bile phone cover

The Oban Times - - News -

A BRIGHT idea to put light­houses at the cen­tre of mo­bile phone cov­er­age for the is­lands and West High­lands has met with a good re­sponse from providers.

Mo­bile com­pa­nies EE and Voda­fone are keen to pro­mote the idea and Western Isles MP An­gus Brendan MacNeil says it might be the so­lu­tion to gaps in cov­er­age.

Mr MacNeil was de­lighted to re­ceive a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the North­ern Light­house Board (NLB) which has in­di­cated a will­ing­ness to work with mo­bile oper­a­tors to make progress in this area.

Mr MacNeil had con­tacted NLB fol­low­ing a query from EE on the use of sites which could al­low them to im­prove cov­er­age.

This could mean NLB would al­low oper­a­tors to use its fa­cil­i­ties to en­hance cov­er­age in the Western Isles, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and across the West High­land is­lands.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘I wrote to NLB at the end of last year af­ter dis­cus­sions with mo­bile oper­a­tors on how to es­ca­late the timetable for bring­ing 4G to the area. NLB has said that it is com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing the Scot­tish econ­omy and is there­fore open to dis­cus­sions with mo­bile providers on where op­por­tu­ni­ties might lie.

‘I would like to thank NLB for its prompt, sen­si­ble re­sponse and its abil­ity to see the big­ger pic­ture.

‘I have al­ready re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion from Voda­fone that 4G will be de­liv­ered to the is­lands within the next two years but the sooner all com­pa­nies have in­fra­struc­ture in place to do this, the bet­ter for the econ­omy of the is­lands.

‘I look for­ward to fur­ther dis­cus­sions with oper­a­tors and NLB on how we can take this for­ward.’

Ex­ten­sion of the mo­bile net­works is de­pen­dent on the roll out and avail­abil­ity of fi­bre broad­band as this is needed to con­nect masts to the core net­work. Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with Mr MacNeil, BT has also given a com­mit­ment to work closely with mo­bile oper­a­tors to sup­port de­vel­op­ment of cov­er­age ex­ten­sion.

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